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What Is the Rule of Order?

Those are the rules for communal life of Brethren. According to the example of early Church when they shared everything and were one heart and one soul, Saint Augustine gave the brethren the rule based on the Gospel recommendations. The founder of Premonstratensian Order St Norbert accepted those rules for a newly established community of brethren. Therefore premonstratensians called St. Augustine their Father.

St. Augustine was born in Tagasta in 354 AD (north-eastern Algiers). At Easter 387 he was baptized after the eloquent preaching of St Ambros. He formed a monastic community with his friends. In 391 he was ordained a priest and four years later a bishop. Everything in their community was subordinated to the needs of pastoral work. He died in Hippo on 28th August, 430. His work includes 113 publications, 218 letters and more than 500 sermons. Now he is buried in Pavia Cathedral in northern Italy.

The Founder of the Order

Saint Norbert was born around 1080 in the area Xanten in Westphalia. He became a canon at a young age and converted suddenly, like Saint Paul. He was struck by lightning and fell off his horse. After that he realized that the way of his life did not correspond to his duties. After his conversion in 1115 he was ordained a priest and completely changed his life. He connected contemplation with an active service to souls. He gathered his first disciples between Laon and Soissons, in an isolated place in the north of France, Prémontré (Pratum monstratum, i.e. a shown meadow – from here the name of the order). Christmas Night 1121, Norbert and his companions made their religious profession: the Order of the Canons Regular of Prémontré was born. In 1126, the year the Order was given final approbation by Rome, Norbert became Archbishop of Magdeburg in Saxony where he died on 6th June 1134. In 1627, his relics were transferred from Magdeburg to the Premonstratensian Abbey of Strahov in Prague. That time he was proclaimed a Czech provincial patron saint.

The Premonstratensians in Bohemia and Moravia

The bishop of Olomouc, Henri Zdik, was instrumental in the beginnings of the Premonstratensian abbeys in Bohemia and Moravia. On his pilgrimage to Holy Land he got to know the Premonstratensian Order and wanted to introduce it in Bohemia and Moravia. In 1142 he appealed to the Abbey of Steinfeld, situated in the present diocese of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) and he sent a group of Premonstratensians to Prague. They founded there the first community that became in 1143 the Abbey of Mount-Sion, known under the name of Strahov. Solidly established in Prague, the Premonstratensians of Strahov founded Zábrdovice in 1209 and this community founded in 1211 the monastery of nuns of Nová Říše which was given in 1641 to the Premonstratensian Canons. The other Premonstratensian monasteries can be found in Teplá and Želiv. In Slovakia Jasov. The closest monastery to Nová Říše is Austrian Premonstratensian monastery in Geras.

Who Are the Premonstratensians?

The Premonstratensian Order is composed of autonomous abbeys whose canons desire to live according to the Gospel proclaiming the Good News, according to the apostolic constitution embodied in the first community of Jerusalem, and according to the rule of Saint Augustine. The Premonstratensians live up to their principles:

  1. to have and to spread faith and reverence to Jesus Christ in Eucharist
  2. to have and to spread reverence and love to Our Lady
  3. to love the liturgy of Mother Church, to celebrate it with dignity and enthusiasm
  4. to attempt to apostolate and gain the other people for Jesus Christ
  5. to live remorsefully and make amends for their sins
The Motto of the Premonstratensians Is:
„BE READY FOR EVERY GOOD WORK“.

Their clothing is called a habit and is made of white wool cloth. It consists of a tunic, a scapular, a cingulum which is worn around the waist and the members who take their vows have a mozeta (a big collar) and a white biretta.

Men are called the First Order, women the Second Order and the Third Order are the secular people who are accepted to the Order community after receiving a scapular. The order also includes the Congregation of Nuns.

What Is a Monastery?

It is a sacred place where God Almighty is praised and where God´s blessing is prayed for.
It is a place where human souls are transformed according to Jesus Christ wish: “Be perfect…”
The lives of monastery people show eternal values in the vanity of the world and eternal life: „Our heart is restless until it will rest with You, my God.“ Saint Augustine

Parent Monastery in Zábrdovice

The Parent monastery in Zábrdovice near Brno was founded by Lev of Klobouky about 1209. His first wife Rejčka and also his second wife Žofie donated their properties to this new monastery.

Regular clergy guided the ecclesiastical administration in their parishes – Zábrdovice, Křtiny, Šaratice, Klobouky, Borkovany and also at the nuns in Nová Říše, Stará Říše and Krasonice.

The Abbot of Zábrdovice discharged his functions of Father Abbot in the monastery of sisters in Nová Říše and sent the provost there as their spiritual administrator and as an authority to negotiate outside the monastery.

Zábrdovice Premonstratensians were in charge of a prominent Marian pilgrim place Křtiny in Moravia. They cared about it very much. In 1663, the local spiritual administrator Martin Alexandr Vigsius wrote out the first work about the stalactite caves in the Moravian karst.

© 2007 Lukáš a Vojtěch Krajíčkovi